“Of course Blatche is there along with Japeth, who’s been playing well and is a key member of our frontline, and June Mar, we need his size but he also needs to make adjustments in terms of quickness,” said Yeng Guiao.
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Yeng Guiao names 6 shoo-ins
Olmin Leyba (The Philippine Star) - August 25, 2019 - 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines — Gilas Pilipinas coach Yeng Guiao has already filled up the first six slots in his Final 12 for next week’s FIBA World Cup, leaving the rest of the pool in a competition to book the remaining tickets to the basketball showpiece in China.

In an interview on Radyo Singko yesterday, Guiao revealed that frontliners Andray Blatche, Japeth Aguilar and June Mar Fajardo, forward Troy Rosario, gunner RR Pogoy, and veteran Gabe Norwood have a lock on the final roster for the Aug. 31-Sept. 15 worlds.

“Of course Blatche is there along with Japeth, who’s been playing well and is a key member of our frontline, and June Mar, we need his size but he also needs to make adjustments in terms of quickness,” said Guiao.

“We have Gabe, our team captain, Troy, we need his athletic ability and outside shooting and we’re converting him to three-spot here so we’ll gain size in the wings, and RR Pogoy, our only remaining pure shooter with Marcio (Lassiter) injured and Matthew (Wright) doubtful (due to injury also),” he added.

Guiao takes one last look at the pool members’ performance in the second game of Gilas’ tuneup series with visiting Adelaide 36ers tonight at Meralco Gym before naming the complete squad on Monday.

“Choosing the last six is the most difficult,” the Phl mentor stressed.

At this stage, Guiao said the main concerns are the minor injuries Wright and Poy Erram recently sustained that forced them to sit out Friday night’s first friendly against the 36ers and the need to speed up the reintegration of Fajardo, Pogoy and Rosario after their three-week absence.

“Their injuries are not serious but it’s a little bit concerning because this is the time we need to see them play,” Guiao said of Erram and Wright after Gilas’ 92-83 win over Adelaide.

As for the trio, their long absence from training was felt in the second quarter, where Gilas seemed out of sync and sputtered after posting a nine-point lead early on.

“We can see they’re still feeling their way back in and their teammates are also adjusting with them around. That’s something we have to fix in the next few days. It’s what hurt us in the second quarter,” said Guiao.

Blatche dished out a near triple double of 19-18-9, turning the assist-man in the fourth and setting up Pogoy for the long bombs that fueled a telling 10-0 run.

“The 36ers gave us a really good game. I felt that it was exactly what we needed – playing rugged, physical and bigger guys. And their bigs are quick and can run the floor. That’s an aspect that gives us problem, our bigs like June Mar and Dray are not that quick so we got to find a way to keep up with the quick bigs,” said Guiao.

“This game gave us a glimpse of what we’ll face (in the World Cup against Italy, Serbia and Angola) and it’s going to give us time to make some adjustments,” he noted.

Meanwhile, guard Kiefer Ravena is expected to plunge into action tonight for the first time as his 18-month suspension by the FIBA already lapsed yesterday.

“Kiefer kept himself in really good shape and he worked really hard. He’s mentally strong, he has high basketball IQ so I think he will get his game back. I have high confidence he can do that, at first there’s a few adjustments, transitions but once he gets going, but I think he’ll be okay,” said Guiao

BASKETBALL FIBA WORLD CUP GILAS PILIPINAS YENG GUIAO
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